Last night, despite a week and a half of suffering from some sinus infection and lung issues, I ventured out to our church’s women’s night to hear Nancy Guthrie speak. I did a Bible study of hers last semester (Seeing Jesus in Genesis–SO good!!) and have since looked forward to hearing her wisdom in person. If you haven’t read anything she’s written or heard of her, trust me, she is an incredibly Gospel centered speaker and writer, and it would do your walk with Jesus well to do one of her Bible studies.
She did two mini-sessions. The first one called “Holding onto Hope” which undoubtedly had every woman in tears as she recounted the birth of her second child, a daughter aptly named Hope, who was born with a rare and fatal disease that left her unable to grow healthily and ended up claiming her life at 6 months of age. Had Nancy not been absolutely tethered to the hope that can only be found in LIVING PERSON of Jesus Christ, she would have been destroyed. As any mother can imagine, the pain from losing the life of your child would be unbearable. But as she searched scripture, God lovingly reminded her that through her suffering, his Glory and purposes were being accomplished. She challenged us women to decide where our hope was being placed.
Her second session was about prayer. I think every woman and mother wishes she were a better prayer. Especially as a stay at home mom, my thoughts are focused on my family almost 24/7. However, I rarely take the time when I have an opportunity to sit down and deeply intercede on behalf of my loved ones, or even my own heart. But as she reminded us, prayer is less about us getting what we want, and more about getting more of God. At the end, she used 12 passages of scripture to show us how to move beyond praying for our own desired “pre-determined positive outcomes” and move toward praying for things that God has already promised us in Scripture. I made a list and wanted to share it with you, in case you struggle as I do to truly pray in line with Scripture at times, or even struggle to find words when a friend is struggling or suffering to bring comfort, but also be in line with God’s will.
How to pray through suffering according to the Scriptures:
John 9:3 “Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'”—So we can pray that through our own, or others suffering, God’s glory would be put on display.
John 15:2 “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”—We can pray that suffering will make us fruitful.
Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”–Pray that suffering will shape us into Christ’s likeness.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” We can pray that through our suffering, we will be equipped to comfort others.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “For we do not want you to be ignorant brothers, of the affliction that we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Pray that suffering causes us to depend more fully on Him (Who raises the dead!!)
2 Corinthians 4:10-11 “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Pray that suffering makes the life of Jesus evident
2 Corinthians 12:7 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” Pray that suffering can reveal hidden sin or keep us from sin.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Pray that suffering would cause us to experience first hand that Christ IS ENOUGH.
Philippians 3:10 “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” Pray that through suffering, we would be able to share in the sufferings of Christ. **She said here “How will we ever truly know Jesus, the man of sorrows, if we never have sorrow in our own lives?” Oh amen. Lord help me remember this.**
Hebrews 12:10-11 “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems rather painful than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Pray that through suffering we would be disciplined for Holiness
James 1:2-5 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Pray that our suffering would make us spiritually mature (perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.)
1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Pray that our suffering would cause us to live out our GENUINE faith.